Having made a £1.8m move to Wolverhampton Wanderers this summer, Bruno Lage took the decision to send right-back Bendeguz Bolla out on loan almost immediately, with the 21-year-old linking up with Grasshoppers for the 2021/22 campaign.
In the season prior, the £900k-rated defender had highly impressed over his 37 appearances in all competitions for Hungarian top-flight side Fehervar, with his creative capacity appearing particularly apparent – registering five assists and scoring one goal for Imre Szabics’ side.
Bolla has continued in this fashion over his 10 Super League fixtures for Grasshoppers, having already scored two goals – one of which the defender himself dubbed “incredible” – provided one assist and created three big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.1 shots and making 1.3 key passes per game.
The right-back has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.2 interceptions, 1.4 tackles, 1.3 clearances and winning 3.8 duels per league fixture.
And, with neither Nelson Semedo nor Ki-Jana Hoever proving particularly deadly or creative going forwards so far this season – with neither player scoring a goal, providing an assist or creating a big chance in the current Premier League campaign – the argument could be made that Bolla may well be the perfect long-term successor for the now-Tottenham Hotspur right-back, Matt Doherty.
While the 29-year-old’s move from Molineux to North London has not exactly worked out, it is undeniable that, during his time at Wolves, the Republic of Ireland international consistently proved an attacking threat on the right-hand side of Nuno Espirito Santo’s back five.
Indeed, over Doherty’s 74 Premier League appearances in his final two seasons at Wolves, the right-back scored a highly impressive eight goals, registered 12 assists and created 11 big chances for his teammates.
As such, with both Semedo and Hoever so far failing to replicate the creative void left by the Irishman, if Bolla can maintain his current level of attacking output throughout the remainder of his time with Grasshoppers, perhaps the 21-year-old could finally be the man to take over Doherty’s attacking mantle at right wing-back.